How to aproach Dementia Day Care

Hi All.
I am new so forgive me if I posted in the wrong section.

My Dad suffers from Parkinson and Dementia. His Parkinson symptoms have been very slow in progression but his Dementia as become worse much quicker.

My Mum is the full time carer and is totally exhausted, as been for a long time. She has no other help and to be honest it as been hard to know how to help her. My Sister and I have set up various appointments of which they have attended but for one reason or another things have not worked out.

Mum is at a point now that she really is open to get some time to herself. Having heard of a Dementia day care center near us. Which as a very good reputation we have been trying to get a day there for Dad. It has taken a long time to get a slot.
We have been allocated this coming Monday.

The really big concern for me is how to broach it with Dad ? We as a family are of the opinion Dad is not going to want to go if asked outright.
He does not like Mum to be out of his sight for long. I take him out on a regular basis but he generally asks about Mum at some point. A bit less of late. That said I can’t remember a time that Mum and Dad have been apart !

I will be taking Dad on Monday for the first time, apparently I can only stay a short time as they need to see how he copes.
We arrive at 10.30 and hopefully pick Dad up at 3.
I’m so worried this is not going to go well as it really needs to for Mum’s sake.

Sorry for the waffle and most probably bad grammar (Plastering is my game) not the best with the written word.

In short I was hoping for some suggestions on how I can approach attending and leaving Dad at the center for a few hours.

ps; Although Dad is confused a lot of the time. He does understand things “as it seems” when he wants to.
As Mum says he perks up when I visit. He trusts me and I don’t want to ruin that. Dad was a Plasterer we spent many years working together.


I don’t have direct experience of caring for someone with dementia, but others on here do. I’m sure they will be along later. However the forum is always quieter at weekends.

Some carers have used the tack that their caree is going to help “train up/teach” potential care workers “the ropes.” Often carees are in denial about how much care they need and don’t think they need outside support and will refuse it. However, if they are led to believe that their experience could help new care workers learn to help the “poor folk” who do need care - they are willing to go along with the arrangements.

It might be nice to take along some memorabilia to help your Dad talk to the staff about his life - you never know their might be some ex trades men there, even plasters who he can reminisce with.

When you leave, it might be worth you making an excuse, e.g. I just have to pop out Dad to … I’ll call in to pick you up after I’ve finished. Also, wait to slip away whilst he is busy i.e having a cuppa and a biscuit.


Hi M

Thanks for your reply “caree is going to help “train up/teach” potential care workers” I would not have thought about that angle before.

Your description of leaving Dad there is how I had envisaged it going “Hopefully”.
You have given me some confidence that I am thinking along the write lines.

Thanks again.


Hi Gary,
Let us know how it goes.


I so hope it goes well for you. Mum was in the same position with my Dad. Both refused care for a long time and things were pretty awful. I think to a degree you have to just say “this is how it is going to be”.
We did also find being brutal worked for my Dad. WE want you to stay at home but unless Mum gets a break you, she wont’ be able to care for you any longer. He still wasn’t happy, but she did get a break. Eventually we got a sitting service at home which worked better. Sitter came in and Mum went out for the afternoon once a week.

Good luck. Let us know how you get on.

Hi Sally thatnks for your reply. "WE want you to stay at home but unless Mum gets a break you, she wont’ be able to care for you any longer " That seems to make perfect sense to me and he may take that at some point. Like your situation he would still not be happy :frowning:




The family and I all thought it would be a bad move to ask Dad along to the centre as he would have point blank refused. Mum has taken Dad somewhere once before not like this place but it just didnt end well.
So I called over to Mum & Dads on Monday morning, did some chores and had a cuppa. I then told Dad I were taking him out for a few hours. He asked where? I told him I had to pick up some materials for a job “Which we did” and then we were going to do some helping out at a community centre sort of volunteering. He seemed to take it on board but I don’t think he took it in really. I did feel sneaky but it felt the best way to get him there initially.

We got there ok. The Centre and staff were fabulous. Dad was ok but was not wanting to get involved in anything really but happy enough. It was really difficult to leave him I ended up staying to long really but I just couldn’t have sneaked off although the staff were brill and very surportive.

We arrived at 11 am I left when he was having Dinner, Dad was not for having His as he said it was time for him to go. I left at 12.30pm and was to pick Dad up at 3pm.

I returned at 3pm. As I approached there was a knocking on the window, it was Dad gesturing me to the door all serious, I thought he were gonna tear a strip off me !

As it turns out he didn’t but his face said it all. The manager said he had not engaged and wandered about and kept trying the front doors. All pretty normal for some people. He does this at home too.
Dad was complimentary to the a manager saying the people and place was lovely but he wouldn’t be back.

Dads face lite up when we got home and he seen my Mum.
"He said that was hard work " He does say some funny things :slight_smile:

Dad finds it very hard to verbilise things but when Mum asked him about the centre he tried his best to tell her about the place and people. Every chance he got he was indicating that he wouldnt be returning !

The centre as a bus and takes a few of the people out during the day for a few hours they call this the Hub. The Manager thought it maybe worth trying that next time as Dad likes walking about.
Course Dad says that’s never going to happen.

So the positives are we got Dad there. He stayed and was not distressed he ate all his Dinner and was pleasant and smiley.

The downside is he won’t go back. Which is a real shame as this place is so very good.
They are keeping the place open for him this coming Monday and between now and then we will be trying to get him to attend.

Many thanks for all the support .


Hi Gary,
it sounds very positive for a first visit and you handled it brilliantly.

Will he remember going and his response, come Monday? If not, great - just repeat the process. If he will remember, you might have to pull the, “Mum needs a break if she is going to keep caring for you, tack,” after all, you aren’t being cruel - it’s true.


It’s worth pursuing! Even if you say they are expecting you and will be so disappointed if you don’t go.sometimes it worked with my hubby at the nursing home if he refused to go for his hair cut, or to the entertainment that I felt he would enjoy. He would let the staff take him, saying ’ oh if I must" Was a battle at times. I realise this is different as he was in a nursing home, so it wasn’t that I needed respite in that sense. Wanted him to have a change of scenery etc.

Another tack might be for Mum to go out before you take him so he knows shes not at home, and for her not to be there when he first gets back. Make up some excuse for where she has to be on a Monday as it sounds like he thinks home is a good place where Mum is, so he has to realise that she isnt there.

Of course Mum can go back home once he’s out, it’s just the pretence to get him to realise home is no longer an option on Mondays. He may be grumpy and not like the idea, but this respite is vital for Mum.

Parents sometimes have to adopt such subterfuge to get their children to accept that staying at home is not an option when school starts. You are now in the role of parent to Dad, and he is the child who will be left somewhere safe and good and necessary. He doesn’t have a say in it. Sad, but true.

Thanks for the update. I would take that as a win. Some excellent advice from other posters. Sounds as though you did an amazing job. My biggest regret is that I didn’t insist that Mum get more of a break as caring for my Dad broke her. So don’t feel guilty about Dad, feel proud about what you are doing for your Mum. She needs this break.

The bottom line is that your Dad was safe and not distressed and the staff were lovely. He might not like it, but it is what is what needs to happen. With dementia routine is important, so my feeling is that if you can get into a routine with this on a Monday he will eventually accept it. The “Mum has to go out on Monday” is an excellent idea. He might even start to engage with the staff etc, even if he never actually likes going.

Best of luck and keep us posted. It is really hard. but please don’t feel bad for any untruths told in the process.

Hi There
Thanks for the support. TBH It stressed me somewhat and very much so this Monday as Dad will most likley not play ball.
Agreed if he does not remember it would be far easier. That said it’s blessing he can as it means he’s not that far down the road. I’m 100% sure he will but we will just have to see.


Hi Pet66

Thanks for response.

Yes I agree it as got to be pursued. It’s taken a long time to get a foot in the door and Mum is at the end of her tether frequently.
I don’t need to go into details as reading lots of posts on the forum, everyone is aware of what it takes to care for someone 24/7 365 a year.
I have rung the Centre up and explained the situation they are very understanding and deal with this all the time. I will let them know if I just can’t coerce him there.


Hi Mrs Average “Smiled at profile name” :slight_smile:

Many thanks for your reply.

My better half also thought this was a good idea and mentioned it last Sunday. Although we didn’t do this on the Monday we will this week. I agree that Dad would think it’s a safe place with Mum being there.

Your last statement is true I know this but in all honesty I’m defiantly not the toughest Dad you’ll ever meet. “Very far from it”
Something I got from Dad.
I will endeavour to be firm !!!

Thanks again for everyone’s help/support.


Just keep thinking of Mum. Dementia is exceptionally cruel in that it is tougher on the carers than on the afflicted. They are often unaware or unfeeling, whereas the carer is exhausted physically and emotionally. Mum needs those breaks.

Thanks for the confidence boost.
These little snippets of wisdom you folk are giving me are priceless. I would not have thought of the illness this way yet it is completely true
Update 2

Mondays been and gone. Touch wood it went really well again. In fact I would go far as to say better than the first “Soooo relieved”
Pre arranged with Mum to leave the house after I had called down and had a cuppa. I told Dad Mum had an appointment and would be out all day.
This happened very smartish without warning so Dad didn’t have much time to think about Mum said see you later and was out the door.

After a few minutes I said we were going out to the club lets get ya coat on. I kept waffling on a bit so he didn’t have to much time to think about it.

No problem, got into the van and off we went.As we approached the centre I thought he is definitely going to remember when he see’s the bright yellow hand rails out the front. He didn’t ! Surely calling the buzzer to gain access. He didn’t !
Only when we got through the second door did he mention the same place as last time ! I said yes its lovely here look at all the photos. Blow me he looked and agreed.

We were a bit earlier this week so only 3 other folk there at first. I took my fleece off unbelievably Dad did too. We sat down and had a brew.
Got Dad to try some colouring. He was much more at ease this time.
We had arranged that Dad would try going out on the bus “Hub” with a small group that prefer to get out and about. Turns out the days outing was to see a local singer/group apparently they wrote Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs.
Broached this with Dad and said I would be picking him up later he took it on board.

Dad did have a slight moment regarding Mum he seemed to think she was up to no good and was concerned she did not know where he was. I told him she knew and that there was nothing to worry about. Changed the subject swiftly and that seemed to work.

Anyhow the bloke driving the bus was stood up across the room at one point. Dad leans over to me and says what’s he doing ? I told him he was the bus driver and getting ready to take you all out to see the singer he said oh ok. Within seconds Dad was up putting his fleece on and standing behind his chair waiting.

I was thinking Omg!
One I couldn’t believe and two I hope the driver gets things moving sharpish before he chages his mind.
Anyways off Dad toddled.

He returned back at 3.15pm “Shattered” :slight_smile:
He seemed to really enjoy the day, off course when asked by the staff that didn’t go out on the bus he said he didn’t, in his smilie way.

When back in my Van.

Dad said “The Lady driving bus had no idea a terrible driver” :slight_smile:

I am under no illusions that I have been very lucky so far and I’m sure this won’t happen every week but we couldn’t have hoped for a better start.

ps; Apologies for the long waffle but I thought writing what was going through my mind at the time and how I did things might help you folk give me advice.

Thanks again everyone.


That’s great news! Keep writing it down, it helps.
Treasure the times of success, ( I used to) then the not so good times won’t feel so negative. I hope your mum managed to enjoy her time. She will at least have something to look forward to.

I was just thinking about you and wondered how it went.

What a massive win for you and Mum. Well done!

Also, it will be massively good for him. Social interaction is really important.

Well done Gary. You are becoming a great parent, using skills of distraction, firmness, boundaries etc. :wink: How was Mum?

P.S. my mum swore blind she didn’t go on any of the outings from her Home. Then we showed her the front page of the local newspaper which was a lovely photo of them all out for a fish and chip lunch. She was grinning broadly front centre. Busted!!! :smiley: